From time to time, I have wrestled with “Are making assumptions good or bad?” Is there a right or wrong answer? Depends… First, let’s start with why we make assumptions. Are brains are powerful engines and we use that engine to help us make meaning out of everything. People make whatever assumptions they need to try to make life and their experiences make sense to them. Let’s face it, we do not know everything, so we make assumptions to move forward. We take into account what we have learned, know and experienced to build the best assumption we can. Again, is that good or bad? Do you have an answer?
For those that said bad: Does this sound like you?
- Most assumptions are just a story to fill in the gaps of what we don’t know.
- Assumptions stop our learning process because we now have our answer.
- Assumptions are more than likely untrue. This will cause more harm in the long run.
For those that said good: Does this sound like you?
- Making assumptions help you move forward. You can always change your course based on the information that you gather (as you are moving forward).
- Assumptions help us plan better.
Most people would automatically say that making assumptions are bad. We have all heard “You ASSUME and you make an ASS out of U and ME.
Assumptions are a necessary evil. We make them all the time. We just need to make sure that we are making the best possible assumptions as we can. We don’t need to be building a story. We need to fill in a gap or two with a most educated guess as possible. We have to then build our plan to prove or disprove our assumption – so we can get the end result as best as possible. Where do you start?
- Ask questions. Depending on your situation, you may have someone or a team to ask questions to help fill in gaps.
- Listen without judging. It is so easy when you made an assumption to defend your assumption. Listen to the answers to the question and make sure that you judgment or bias is in check. You can not learn if you don’t listen without judging.
- Never hold your assumptions as truths. Assumptions are educated guesses and like everything that is not proven out – they could be wrong. When we are learning science – we first start with the hypothesis and then perform our experiments to gain the truth. The same has to happen with assumptions.
I am still not sure I would stand up and say that all assumptions are bad or good. I will make an assumption that we all will continue to make assumptions. I just want to make sure that my assumptions are a guess to help me move forward. I will not hold my assumptions as 100% correct. I will continue to use assumptions as learning tools only..
A heavy blog topic … Thoughts!